Inspirational teenager Shamira Martinez has been acknowledged for her work in making a difference for people living with disabilities. The young Seventh-day Adventist entrepreneur from Perth, Australia, who lives with blindness and hearing impairment herself, recently won a Shine On Award from the Rotary Club of Southern Districts, recognizing her work in creating accessible products, and for her volunteer role at both Guide Dogs Western Australia and the Kites sensory toy library.
Martinez, who attends Livingston Seventh-day Adventist Church, has also received the Ida Lloyd Fellowship Award for Inclusion. It was presented to her by VisAbility to young people under the age of 30 with low or no vision to facilitate their social and independent living skills and to assist their positive inclusion and participation in their community.
She lives with an extremely rare condition encompassing blindness, hearing impairment, and spinocerebellar ataxia. Her family believes she is the only person in the world with this condition. Despite the significant impact of her condition on every aspect of her life, Sham, as she is known, remains a vibrant and positive young lady who simply wants to be actively involved and enjoy a fulfilling life.
With the support of her family, Martinez launched Sham’s Beauty Products, a business specializing in products such as soaps, hand creams, bath soaks, and scrubs. The business operates with an inclusive mindset. Product labelling features braille, and accessible packaging is a priority.
Assistive technology plays a vital role in helping Martinez achieve her business goals. She uses devices like the OrCam MyEye 2, which reads recipes and labels aloud, and the Phonak FM system in conjunction with her cochlear implants to enhance her hearing and communication. Working closely with her support team and family, Martinez crafts her products at her own pace, ensuring their quality and accessibility.
Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing that Martinez’s products are the best they have ever used. By incorporating natural and simple ingredients, Martinez strives to create outstanding products that cater to diverse needs.
“The best part of owning my own business is being able to work at my own pace and the hours that suit my needs,” 18-year-old Martinez, a member of Livingston Seventh-day Adventist Church, said. “I do the parts I can and ask for help with other parts. The achievement I feel by being able to have my own business is huge. I can do things other people do in my way. It has opened opportunities I didn’t think were possible for me.”